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More than two hundred people, including myself, had the great privelege of attending a two-day conference, called the Physics of Sustainable Energy, held at the University of California at Berkeley on March 1 &2, 2008 and sponsored by the Forum on Physics & Society of the American Physical Society. The conference included about two dozen talks by some of the leading experts in various aspects of energy, including appliances, lighting, buildings, windows, energy use in China, wind, nuclear power, ... and too many others to list in their entirety. My position as co-editor of this newsletter gives me the welcome opportunity to express my deep thanks to all of the speakers and to David Hafemeister, Barbara Levi, Pete Schwartz, and Mark Levine, the conference organizers. The conference was not only very interesting, but also successful in its announced purpose, namely, "to acquaint physicists with an in-depth technical knowledge of the more promising developments in energy research and to enable them to evaluate energy issues for teaching or for research." I'm quite sure that I express the sentiments of the majority of the attendees when I extend my heartfelt thanks to the organizers and speakers for their work.
This conference was billed as "The Woodstock of Sustainable Energy", but in at least one respect, our conference was superior to the "other Woodstock physics meeting", i.e., the APS March meeting of 1987 in Manhatten: I was there in 1987, and I therefore know that nobody at the March 1987 meeting handed out delicious box lunches to all the attendees, as was done at our conference in Berkeley. J. Robert Oppenheimer, once on the faculty at UC Berkeley, remarked in the context of the fission bomb creation that physicists "...have known sin." In the context of sustainable energy research, I would add that we physicists have also known good food and very good company.
Jeffrey Marque is the Senior Staff Physicist at Beckman Coulter Corporations's Centrifuge Development Center in Palo Alto, California, where he has worked on structural dynamics and acoustics since 1988. Prior to that, he taught physics at the University of San Francisco and did protein dynamics research at Cornell University and at the biophysics group at Rikagaku Kenkyusho (RIKEN) in Wako-shi, Japan. He has served as co-editor of this newsletter for several years.